September 4, 1999 Faxed to: (416) 861-1291
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
229 Yonge Street, Suite 403
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1N9
Attention: A. Alan Borovoy, General Counsel
Your letter of February 5, 1999 has been given the widest circulation among our membership across Canada, including detailed discussion at our recent National Convention, and to other interested parties.
It is quite obvious that your organization favours the denaturalization and deportation policy currently being employed by the federal government to deal with so-called Nazi war criminals. We take it from your letter that, in this regard, the CCLA believes:
* despite our letter of January 8, 1999, CCLA will continue to ignore our request for intervention in denaturalization and deportation cases
* by stating that you “see no reason why Canada must tolerate the presence in the country of those who told serious lies when they were seeking admission,” CCLA presumes those accused are guilty before they are afforded a proper (criminal) trial; and furthermore, that CCLA believes this position holds for all such people, regardless of the country of origin (say, for example, those who came here from Isreal)
* that CCLA believes the government, in the 6 decided cases, has in fact been producing “adequate evidence of such falsification”
* that the Federal Court judges have, in adjudicating these cases, been “truly independent and impartial”
* the CCLA has chosen to ignore the points made in our January 8, 1999 letter (likely because those points upset the political agenda of CCLA).
The problem with the CCLA’s position, then, is that it bears the markings of pre-judgment of the accused, without a hint of objectively looking into readily accessible case decisions and without a modicum of legal inquiry into the process. (Surely, your organization members noticed Kirk Makin’s lengthy article “For Crimes Not Committed” in the Toronto Globe and Mail February 20, 1999 edition.) Even a cursory inquiry by CCLA would suggest the following possible conclusions about the denaturalization and deportation process:
a) removal of all criminal law safeguards normally available to accused who are similarly situated, at the insistence of one lobby group
b) RCMP entrapment tactics directed at 80+ year old men, many of whom have limited English language abilities (see Vitols, etc.)
c) use of questionable “historical experts” who have repeatedly contradicted themselves and each other while providing blatantly unreliable testimony (see Dueck, Vitols, Katriuk, Podins, etc.)
d) reliance on testimony of hardened Bolshevik “witnesses” who are prepared to testify to anything to advance their nefarious aims (see Kisluk)
e) use of despicable prosecution tactics including withdrawal of war crimes accusations during proceedings (see Allan Rock’s promise to the contrary); introduction of massive documentation in mid-trial (see Bogutin, etc.); constant interruption and intimidation of accused and family members during court proceedings and testimony, and so on
f) burdening of accused with unmanageable legal costs to fund their defence as a tactic to cause accused to give up the fight.
We are also curious about your claim that CCLA does not apparently get involved in a matter of public concern unless requests for its assistance are directed its way from a given group (see second paragraph of your letter). If that is the case, then this means someone from pedo-porn adherents must have approached CCLA resulting in a positive response, as was evident in your personal intervention with the Minister of Justice on this very issue several weeks ago.
In summary, our membership is deeply disillusioned with the CCLA (though not surprised by its reaction) and its active support of denaturalization and deportation -- a policy otherwise tailor-made for intervention and rigorous opposition by what would normally be regarded as an unbiased and objective civil liberties organization. It is apparent that the CCLA has made its decision not to intervene, and it is equally obvious that the CCLA will have to live with that decision.
Eugene Harasymiw, LL.B.
Michael Zaleschuk, National President, Regina Beach, Sask.
All provincial and component organization locals
Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association
February 5, 1999
Eugene Harasymiw, President
Alberta Ukrainian Self-Reliance League
11024 - 82 Avenue
I regret that, because of our small and limited resources, there are far too many issues we have not addressed. Quite often, our involvement in one set of issues rather than another is attributable to the happenstance of what requests we might have received. By itself, therefore, our lack of action in some areas says very little about our organization's policies.
If, however, our intervention has been requested and we refuse it, that is a more reliable barometer of where we stand. Perhaps it is my faulty memory, but I do not recall your organization ever having requested action from us regarding the issue of how the government handles alleged Nazi war criminals.
I must note, however, that your general analysis of the issue is troublesome. In principle, I see no reason why Canada must tolerate the presence in this country of those who told serious lies when they were seeking admission. In this regard, your position is not clear. Are you saying that all danaturalizations should require the components of a criminal trial? Or would you limit such processes to certain types of cases. If so, how?
In any event, I am not persuaded that stripping a person of citizenship should necessarily require the criminal standard of proof that such persons, in fact, did tell such lies. While I would agree that the civil standard (51%) may be too low, I am advised that the courts have generally required a "high degree of probability" i.e. somewhere between 51% and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard does not appear inappropriate.
As far as I am aware, the onus remains on the government to produce adequate evidence of such falsification. Nor does it appear necessary that fact-finding decisions here be made by a jury of one's peer. As long as the adjudicative tribunal is truly independent and impartial, we are not persuaded that such procedures require a challenge from CCLA.
These observations should not be taken as necessarily dismissive of any and all possible interventions by CCLA in this area. If you are aware of any such cases that raise civil liberties issues, we invite you to make us aware of them. For these purposes, CCLA usually addresses issues of law and policy, not questions of fact.
A. Alan Borovoy